Monday, September 27, 2010

A New Book for Fall

Fall on the Butternut Creek

Fall settled in on upstate New York suddenly; last week it was late summer, but, by the end of the week, leaves were falling, and now the yard is filled with them

My new book, entitled Dumpster Dying, is due out in late October, early November from Oak Tree Press.  I thought you might like to read a bit of it to get a taste of life for my "winter visitor" protagonist in rural Florida.

Dumpster Dying                                                            

Chapter 1                           

Emily Rhodes, the new bartender at the Big Lake Country Club, blew damp tendrils of sun-bleached hair out of her face as she kicked and dragged three plastic trash bags across the sun-baked asphalt lot behind the clubhouse. A full moon illuminated the area’s lone palm tree under which sat a metal beast waiting for its nightly feeding.

“Here you go, big boy,” she said. She let go of the bags and, with one hand, lifted the dumpster’s lid on the side closest to her. The usual stench of rotting garbage assaulted her nostrils. She ignored the smell and tried to heave the bag into the container, but it tumbled back out. Too full. She shoved back the lid on the other side, and mentally crossed her fingers that she wouldn’t have to hop in there and stomp around on that stuff to make room as she did the other night.

By the glow of the security light she spotted a white object lying at the far end of the dumpster, a cowboy hat, a very special cowboy hat, a Silver Belly, expensive and worn by very few men. She’d encountered just such a man earlier in the evening. The circumstances of their meeting were not pleasant.

What the hell was that doing here, she wondered. Emily leaned in as far as she could. Her feet left the ground, and she teetered on the rim of the dumpster. She struggled to reach the hat, tugged at it, and almost went head first into the bin, head first onto the man’s face hidden beneath the hat.

Ugh! She fell back and dropped the metal lid, the clang reverberating off the side of the building in the still night. She covered her mouth with her hand, and leaned against the dumpster. That can’t be. I didn’t see that, did I?

She turned, opened the lid once more, gingerly pushed a garbage bag to one side, and peered in for another look. She remembered him from earlier in the evening when he had grabbed her blouse and tried to pull her across the bar. He had worn a brilliant white cowboy shirt with roses appliqu├ęd on the front yoke. Now the shirt front was as dark as the blood-red flowers.

She gulped hard to hold back the bile working its way up from her stomach and looked around the lot. It was empty. Help. She needed help.

She ran for the door of the clubhouse. The knob wouldn’t turn.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cooking with Beer

Now that cooler weather is here, I've been searching through recipes to see what I can make that will require heating up the oven.  Friday night I did a book singing at a local restaurant and bar, The Empire House, in Glibertsville, NY.  The bar features some of our local brews from Butternuts Beer and Ale Brewery down the road from me.  I decided to make muffins for the evening, and I've included the recipe below.  These tasty little morsels are made with stout.  I used Moo Thunder Stout, the great brew from Butternuts Beer and Ale, but you can use any stout you like.  If you don't like muffins, I've included a way you can convert the recipe to a cake.

                               Butternut Valley Ginger Stout Mini-Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 tablespoon candied ginger (finely chopped) or 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

12 ounces stout (I recommend Moo Thunder from Butternuts Beer and Ale)

½ cup molasses

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease mini-muffin cups. Combine flour, ground
ginger, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves; set aside.

2. Beat butter and candied ginger with electric mixer on medium speed until
combined. Add sugars; beat to combine. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after
each addition.

3. Mix stout and molasses to combine. Alternately add dry ingredients in 3 additons, with the beer mixture; beating until combined and scraping down side of bowl as needed.

4. Pour into the mini-muffin pans. Bake 12-15 minutes. Makes over 60 muffins.

Note: You may make this batter into a cake. Grease a 13x 9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

The muffins turned out so well, I wondered if any of you have tried cooking with beer?  Would you share a favorite beer recipe with me?  I'd like to add them to the next Hera book or complile them into a down- loadable booklet that all of Hera's fans could get by contacting me.  Of course, I would give each one of you credit for the recipe you contributed and your name might find its way into my next Hera book.
Send your recipe(s) to me at .  I'll continue to put together the recipes throughout the fall months until I get enough to use in the book or to put together in booklet form.
Try the muffins with a dollop of whipped cream.  Yummy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Announcing the Winner of the Beer Name Contest

In July, I began a contest to name Hera's newest beer, to be created in the second Hera Knightsbridge book.  I've decided on the winner.  Drum roll, please.  Throw confetti.  Open champagne.  Eat dark chocolate.  Okay, okay.  Open a bottle of stout and eat strawberries masserated in balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar with just a pinch of black pepper.  Add dollop of creme fraiche.

The name will be CLEAR CREEK, a perfect label for an ale to celebrate Hera's commitment to maintaining clean water in Upstate New York.  The individual who suggested this name was John Sullivan who wins a copy of A Deadly Draught.  Enjoy, John.

I haven't yet decided just what kind of ale this will be.  It sounds like a light one, but it could be darker if one considers the deep, cool pools in the Butternut.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  There were some great names and I had a difficult time making up my mind.  Hera may have to create many other beers in the future.